‘Noth­ing for us with­out us’

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - SOCIETY - Fo­raward Nyanyiwa re­cently in Kadoma

WHEN Dorothy Mudza­miri (27) in­ad­ver­tently learnt her HIV sta­tus a decade ago, she was un­nerved to the point of think­ing of tak­ing her own life.

Life in Si­akobvu in the Nyaminyami area of swel­ter­ing Kariba be­came mis­er­able for her as she strug­gled to live pos­i­tively with HIV.

“I was born HIV-pos­i­tive and grew up be­ing told that I was tak­ing tablets for heart prob­lems. I be­came aware of my HIV sta­tus by de­fault some 10 years ago.

“We were at a church meet­ing and my friend who was also tak­ing med­i­ca­tion for a heart ail­ment asked me if I could pass her tablets from her bag and all hell broke loose.

“The tablets were dif­fer­ent from what I was tak­ing and upon en­quiries, I learnt that I was be­ing lied to. From there I started to flush the tablets in a laun­dry sink in one of my at­tempts to die,” she nar­rated of her de­lib­er­ate de­fault­ing of an­tiretro­vi­ral treat­ment.

A se­ries of coun­selling ses­sions brought her back on an even keel, and sound in her­self the strength to carry on.

En­coun­ter­ing the Pan-African Pos­i­tive Women’s Coali­tion (PAPWC) was the turn­ing point.

“I had been in­volved in dif­fer­ent sup­port groups but when PAPWC came along, it changed the whole script. Here was a plat­form for me to trans­form my­self and make my voice heard.

“PAPWC helped me re­dis­cover my con­fi­dence and as I sit here, I am now a changed soul. I can now ad­vo­cate for a sis­ter next door,” she con­fi­dently said.

Ms Mudza­miri, now hap­pily married and a mother of three, was part of a group of women who gath­ered In Kadoma last week to ad­vo­cate for more fe­male in­volve­ment in Global Fund pro­cesses.

Themed “Noth­ing for us with­out us,” the ind­aba drew par­tic­i­pants from Zimbabwe’s 10 prov­inces.

PAPWC ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Ms Ten­dayi Wester­hof said, “This is one of those ind­abas we will con­tinue to have so as to em­power fel­low women liv­ing pos­i­tively.

‘‘We want to bring change to their lives and as for this gath­er­ing we hope all women should know the Global Fund pro­cesses and we want to deal with is­sues that af­fect us.”

Ms Enita Kwaramba (31) a sin­gle mother of one who comes Mhon­doro-Ngezi said PAPWC was cham­pi­oning the cause of women liv­ing with HIV.

“Since I started to be with them, I have made a lot of con­tacts and I want to be­lieve that net­work­ing is key for our con­stituency as women liv­ing with HIV.

“Right now we know a lot about Global Fund pro­cesses and that we must play a star­ring role; noth­ing for us with­out us,” said Ms Kwaramba.

Jour­nal­ist and ac­tivist Mrs Cather­ine Murombedzi said the work­shop was a plat­form to share knowl­edge and ideas.

“We be­lieve as women liv­ing with the dis­ease, we should play an in­te­gral part on is­sues that af­fect us and cas­cade the in­for­ma­tion to ev­ery­one in­fected and af­fected,” she said.

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